FRESH Start Borders, a Selkirk-based charity giving starter packs of household goods to homeless people for their first permanent home, will make up their 1,000 pack next Wednesday – just in time for Poverty and Homelessness Action Week.
For the last five years, 10 volunteers have met every Wednesday at Shepherds Mill to box up everything a first home would need, from kettles and bedding, to dustpans and alarm clocks.
Volunteer Freda Nicholson told us: “It’s bad enough being homeless, but when these people go into their first home, there’s nothing – not even a light bulb.
“At least with this pack they can make a cup of tea, and be warm in bed. A lot of tenancies fail because people get depressed sitting in houses with nothing.
“Homeless people in the Borders are in that position for all sorts of reasons. It might be because of domestic violence, or redundancy. It’s not just people in doorways.”
Another volunteer, Jane Stevenson, added: “In the Borders people can get a bit complacent, because we don’t see homelessness.
“This is efficient recycling: with all the cuts in benefits, it’s worthwhile if people can give what they don’t need to those who have nothing.”
After the 1,000th pack, Jane said they’ll all feel “knackered”.
Packs are given out after referrals. To donate money or clean, re-usable items, go to www.freshstartborders.org.uk or call 01750 62219/01750 20678.